Getting Started

Here are basic installation and setup instructions for the SilentStepStick stepper motor drivers.

For 3D printers we recommend the TMC2209 SilentStepStick, because they have the best compatibility with simple drivers (such as A4988 or DRV8825) and the most important settings can be made via pins.

  1. Check the pin compatibility and power supply of your mainboard.

  2. Power off everything.

  3. Connect the driver to the mainboard.

    • The driver chip is on the bottom PCB side and a heatsink can be mounted on the top PCB side.
    • On TMC2xxx SilentStepSticks the motor rotation direction is inverted (DIR pin inverted) and can be either changed in the software or by rotating the motor connector 180°.
  4. Choose the operating mode, in most cases 1/16 stealthChop.

    • The stealthChop operating mode is nearly silent.

    • RAMPS / RUMBA / MKS-GEN / GT2560 notes:

      These boards have jumpers or switches to set the MS/CFG to high (VIO), if the jumpers are set/activated.

      TMC2100 SilentStepSticks: If you remove all jumpers for MS1+MS2+MS3, then the TMC2100 driver will be in 1/16 spreadCycle mode (CFG1=GND CFG2=open), because there is a pull-down resistor on MS1/CFG1 on the mainboard. The pull-down is 100k Ohm and in most cases it will set the driver in spreadCycle mode correctly. However if there are problems then short CFG1 to GND or replace the resistor with one which is 30k Ohm or less.

      TMC220x SilentStepSticks: If you set the jumpers MS1+MS2 then the TMC220x will be in 1/16 stealthChop mode and with MS3 the TMC2209 can be put into spreadCycle mode.

      If you have not an original RAMPS 1.4 or RUMBA or MKS-GEN v1.4 or GT2560 V3 then your schematics can be different and you have to check the MS-Pin configurations on you board.

  5. Power on everything, but do not enable the driver (EN = VIO).

    • Always ensure that the motor stands still and the driver is deactivated on power down. If this cannot be ensured, we strongly recommend to install SilentStepStick Protectors.
  6. Set the motor current with the potentiometer or via SPI/UART.

    • Do not set the drivers to the maximum rated current of the respective stepper motor. A good point to start is half of the rated current and if there are problems (like step losses) then set a higher current in 0.1A steps till everythings works.
    • For NEMA 17 motors from 3D printers the current is in general in the range of 0.5A to 0.8A RMS, which is a reference voltage (Vref) of 0.7V to 1.1V.
    • On 3D printers sometimes two stepper motors are used for the Z axis and connected to one stepper driver. A series connection of the motors is in most cases better than a parallel connection. Only for motors with a high phase voltage (>6V) a parallel connection should be used and the double current has to be set for the parallel connection.
  7. Now the driver can be enabled to drive the motor.

  8. Check that the driver does not get to hot and ensure a good air circulation.

    • Information about cooling.
    • The Trinamic drivers have an automatic thermal shutdown if the chip gets to hot (about 150°C). But if the temperature rises to fast then the driver can also get damaged.